Community Empowerment news: Residents in Street work together to improve their local environment

28 July 2014

Residents at Houndwood, a new community in Street, are working together with us and with partners to improve their local environment.

Houndwood in Street is a diverse new community of different age groups, tenures, cultures and expectations. We worked with the community, police, the developers and the local authority to successfully resolve some anti-social behaviour in part of the estate. However, this left a feeling of ‘them-and-us’, and mistrust between residents.

Guy Braga, our Senior Community Empowerment Officer, talked with the local people and worked with Jacqui Pirrie, one of our residents, to see what could be done to bring the community together.

A pond and ditches on the estate needed some maintenance and enhancement, so in agreement with the landowner Crest Nicholson, we decided to enlist the help of Avalon Marshes Landscape Partnership and Somerset Rural Youth Project (SRYP). Residents young and old worked together to clear out weeds, cut back overgrown culverts and plant over 900 wild flowers and marginal plants during some fantastic events held this spring and summer.

Five residents in their 20s have now finished a six week course with SRYP which introduced them to employment and environmental skills.

We’ve also worked with residents to turn a large ornamental planter into a vegetable plot and young residents are growing their own runner beans, courgettes and herbs.

As Jacqui sums up, “It’s been hard but I really feel things on the estate are starting to turn around”.

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